Thursday 30 September 2010

'Science Spotlight’ 9/12 Sir Bernard Lovell

Sir Alfred Charles Bernard Lovell, OBE, FRS Born in 1913. Studied physics at the University of Bristol, obtaining a Ph.D. in 1936. He worked in the cosmic ray research team at the University of Manchester until the outbreak of World War II. During the War he led the team at the Air Ministry’s Telecommunications Research Establishment, developing the H2S, the first airborne, ground scanning radar system earning him an OBE in 1946. he then returned to Manchester with an ex-army mobile radar to continued his research on cosmic rays However electrical interference from the city’s tram system prevented him from doing so forcing him to move to The University’s horticultural/botany department at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire.
The first Transit Telescope constructed in 1947 provided valuable data however readings were limited, a fully steerable telescope was needed prompting the construction of the “Mark I” Telescope in 1957. Standing at 76.2 m (250 ft) in diameter it was the largest steerable dish radio telescope in the world. That same year, the Soviet Union launched the first space satellite, Sputnik I the “Mark I” was the only telescope in the world able to track the satellite's carrier rocket. Since then, it has been used for pioneering work in the discovery of pulsars and quasars. Lovell was knighted in 1961 for his contributions to the development of radio astronomy and served as Director of Jodrell Bank until his retirement in 1981.

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Back to the Asylum, Lincoln 2010

Beth and I returned to Lincoln for the second annual Victorian Steampunk Society get together, a weekend of catching up with old friends, making new ones and sharing ideas and we had a lovely time. With this year’s event promising to be bigger than the last it exceeded the former psychiatric hospital to Lincoln Castle home of the Magna Carta. With the iconic Lincoln Cathedral towering over us the event was steeped in history!

Saturday, I wanted to follow up last year’s invention ‘The Cellular Condenser Ray’ and so I invented ‘The Glaciation Ray’ once the dinosaur had been reduced they can now be frozen and displayed in the ‘The Patented Cryo-preservation Curiosity Cabinet’ no biting, no feeding only fresh specimens every time! The frozen dinosaurs seemed well received by the visitors attracted by the icy glow emanating from amongst the wonderful contraptions on display by such inventors as Andy Dingley! Once sure that the inventions were in working order we continued with the rest of the day. Lincoln Castle played host to the Bazaar Eclectica, each stall holder was allocated a prison cell having perused the delights on offer and stocked up on our supply of Stokes tea we then returned to our favourite haunt The Sir Joseph Banks Conservatory for some cream tea.

We then attended a fascinating lecture on the history of the stereoscope given by Stephen Thomas founder of Visual Discoveries Ltd. Who is reviving this Victorian wonder by producing a 100% effective, lightweight affordable version for the 21st century. After the presentation we were able to experience them for our selves the beautifully crafted stereoscope were passed along the audience who marvelled at the photographs contained inside they were fantastic. Check out their web site, with a growing catalogue of views of different towns, villages and cities and a set called '3D Fun' for children in the works I highly recommend them!

We then made our way to the costume contest. Standards were high this year my favourites had to be the Postal Robot and Rachel White aka Miss Helga Von Flamme the intrepid aviatrix! Supporting a snazzy red flying helmet and rocket pack its no surprise Rachel wowed the judges and crowd and achieved 3rd place!

7:30pm onwards to the Empire Ball with Beth on my arm. Having had our photo taken as we entered we were then greeted by our generous hosts Thadeus Tinker and Lady Elsie. The place was awash with attractive women wearing amazing ball gowns with well-groomed gentlemen peppered around the room everyone dressed to impress! We settled down to an evening of live entertainment, conversation, wine and waltzing courtesy of Ghostfire.
On the Sunday, Rachel and Andy invited us to a picnic! We had a lovely cup of tea and carrot cake under the trees as we discussed ideas for future costumes and props. The sun held out throughout, we tidied up and made our way to the castle, as there was free Gin to be had! Hendricks Gin were one of the sponsors of the event and they were giving free samples to anyone who participated in a game of movie charades ‘The Day of the Dead’ and ‘Psycho’ latter the free gin had been won and consumed before making our way to the closing ceremony. After completely giving up trying to locate my raffle ticket they announced the winners of the contraption competition, Andy’s Dornberger Ætherian Rocket-Pack won this year’s Brunel Award with the Patented Cryo-preservation Curiosity Cabinet being awarded the Highly Commended rosette. And so ended another weekend at the Asylum.


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